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Moral Limits

Jesus never condemned torture. Search the Bible all you like, there is not a single instance where the Messiah pointed out an instance of torture and rebuked it. The opposite case can be made, actually, as Jesus several times described the torments of hell in a manner which implied He thought the suffering was just, if terrible. Even faced with His own crucifixion, Jesus neither condemned His killers nor the method. When He spoke with the thief on the cross, Jesus made no mention that the suffering they endured was wrong or unjust.

That's not to say, of course, that Christ approved of torture. It merely notes an absence of specific denunciation. One might wonder why. In the end, consideration of the matter leads people to one of only two valid conclusions:

1. Torture is so heinous that denouncing it is not necessary; it is evil on its face.
2. The specific moral quality of an action sometimes depends on details which may not be available or clear; what is torture from one perspective may be valid behavior from another.

Obviously, the first answer is clear and simple, while the second answer risks being used to justify atrocities. Few people indeed would accept the second answer as reasonable, yet in the end it must be included in any honest evaluation.

Consider Khalid Sheihk Mohammed. This is a man who, beyond any dispute by now, masterminded the 9/11 attacks, and if anything was disappointed he could not kill more innocents than he did. KSM was a monster's mentor, guiding Osama bin Laden in the ways of murder and pain, a man greatly experienced in his vocation of making people suffer. KSM was hardened to police interrogation, and he knew how to play the system. I mention this for the simple obvious reason that this is how terrorists operate - they perform asynchronous combat, using rules which protect themselves to attack their victims with protection from their own enemies. When the terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in 1993 they failed, but they used the U.S. court system to collect and transfer critical data about the target which they incorporated into the successful 2001 attack. There's no way around the fact that granting legal protections and privileges to the 1993 attackers helped them murder thousands more.

People who demand that terrorists be tried as criminals and given the legal rights and protections granted to any ordinary suspect, must accept that in doing so they are contributing to the suffering and death of innocent people. Terrorists are by their nature sub-human, not a lower class of person because of race or creed, but because of a choice of action which requires commensurate consequences. Throughout history the actions of terrorists, whether they are called hashashin, thuggees, the Black Hand, or any other name, have been ended only by the use of force to whatever degree is needed. Terrorists deal in fear and brutality, and know only that language. They stop at nothing, and are only stopped by greater force than they possess themselves.

This may appear to condone torture as a matter of practical realpolitik a 'do whatever it takes' approach which allows someone to do whatever they please, provided the proper argument is made. But if those who wish to protect terrorists must understand that by doing so they are helping harm and murder uncounted numbers of innocents in later attacks, those who are willing to use torture to defeat terrorists must accept that we are condoning torture. Waterboarding is torture. Not in the legal sense, for reasons I am not bringing up here because this is not the legal argument. But waterboarding someone is to cause deliberate suffering to that person, for the purpose of coercion. The question can be asked as to whether the torture is appropriate or necessary or defensible, but there can be no question that the line is crossed, and for a clear purpose - the terrorist believes that the western system of rights protects him from serious harm, and that belief must be obliterated. So the decision to act in a manner beyond what the terrorist considers possible is the lever by which his resolve may be undone and produce cooperation with the authorities. It would be false to pretend, however, that such a step can be taken without jeopardizing the precepts on which this nation and culture were built. And if the scale on which such actions are taken is large enough, the use of torture on innocents becomes increasingly likely to occur, which is unacceptable to the great majority of Americans. It's one thing to torture Khalid Sheihk Mohammed, but quite another to - even accidentally - torture an ordinary person guilty of no crime.

Back in 1949, Justice Robert Jackson issued a dissenting decision in the case of Terminiello v. City of Chicago, in which he stated "There is danger that, if the court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact". And in 1963, in the case of Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez, Justice Goldberg wrote that while "the Constitution protects against invasions of individual rights, it is not a suicide pact".

- continued -

These judges clearly stated that moral arguments have practical limits. This truth can also be seen in the way war is now waged. Some people argue that the use of torture would sully our nation, making us equal to the terrorists, but this is plainly false. That is, a person who takes pleasure in the suffering of others, who carries out violence and chaos for the principal reason of causing pain and misery, would be the same as a terrorist, but this is not the character or spirit of the American soldier or intelligence agent, no matter how the media and the enemy may claim. The men who carry out the nation's missions can and do maintain personal standards of morality while performing violent actions, even the deliberate harm to the enemy. The liars in the media seem to be able to honor our military only when they are dead, and our intelligence agents only when they attack their President. In actual fact, many honorable actions involve doing great harm to the enemy. In the old days we honored men like Sergeant York and Audie Murphy, who were able to fight a long, violent war then return home and live decent, quiet lives. Those men still exist and we still depend on them, although it's no longer acceptable in some quarters to honor them for taking on the duties and costs of modern warfare. We are not obliged to play by the terms dictated by those who would murder our children, although far too few people today are willing to pay the price.

If you started reading this article expecting or hoping for a clear argument for or against the use of torture, you will be unsatisfied by this piece. My point for here, is that we all have the moral obligation to consider that our comfortable personal moralities all have boundaries, and those boundaries are protected by those who do what we cannot or will not do for ourselves. We all, whatever our opinion, have the duty to think carefully about this issue, to respect the limits of our knowledge and personal authority, and to consider the debt we owe those who have endured those burdens we were unwilling to carry ourselves.


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Comments (121)

Well, at least you're man e... (Below threshold)
max:

Well, at least you're man enough to admit your own barbarism.

Now kindly move to Iran. Us real Americans don't want you here.

Max, you aren't even enough... (Below threshold)
Kraft American Singles:

Max, you aren't even enough of an American to be allowed to eat me!

There you go, max.... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

There you go, max.

When it's time for the adults to deal with the hard issues, we can trust max to mentally become a bratty 4-year old.

You've made a terribly wron... (Below threshold)
Unrepentant Democrat:

You've made a terribly wrong assumption in your statement::....those who wish to protect terrorists..."

I don't wish to "protect terrorists" I just don't want this country to sink to the level of terrorists and war criminals by torturing anyone. So, believing that we are above that as a country and believing it is illegal and immoral does not mean I want to "protect terrorists."

"Us real Americans don't wa... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Us real Americans don't want you here."

Says the self-appointed ultimate arbiter of what is right and wrong.

Interesting DJ. Alinsky's idea was to use the Constitution as suicide pact. I don't think it ever occurred to him that people might, feeling their backs were to the wall, instead might put him up against a wall and shoot him.

Torturing terrorists does n... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Torturing terrorists does not make us their moral equal, U.D. If we tortured innocent people and carbombed their mosques, then we'd be their moral equal.

You need a better strawman, that one fell apart pretty quick.

DJHuh? You complet... (Below threshold)
Unrepentant Democrat:

DJ

Huh? You completely ignored my point, speaking of a strawman. You made the statement: "...people who want to protect terrorists..." How about backing that up with something substantive since it's your point?

You're now arguing moral re... (Below threshold)
Unrepentant Democrat:

You're now arguing moral relativity which I believe is something conservatives have been accusing others of doing for years.

Terrorist are immoral.
Torture is immoral.

Those are my "moral" beliefs and for gosh sake you concluded your post about how we all have the duty to think carefully about this issue. Well, I have and I stand by my beliefs.

I will condemn this... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:


I will condemn this country for torture--just as soon as we practice such.

"Captain, the liberal is tr... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

"Captain, the liberal is trying evasive manuevers"

"He's just circling wildly to the left"

"It's all they know, captain"

UDAnd I assume tha... (Below threshold)
retired military:

UD

And I assume that you wholeheartedly support abortion right since that isnt torture. I mean killing unborn children isnt so bad is it.

Jesus never condemned terro... (Below threshold)
WotrldCitizen:

Jesus never condemned terrorism.

Moral relativism is a slippery slope. Do you really want to start down the slide.

"People who demand that terrorists be tried as criminals and given the legal rights and protections granted to any ordinary suspect, must accept that in doing so they are contributing to the suffering and death of innocent people."

What??? Logic does not dictate your conclusion from your premise. Assuring that legal rights are afforded to a terrorist does not encourage terrorism. The death penalty is a legal option so it is not a given that they would only recieve jail time.

Let me fix your next sentence:

Torturers "are by their nature sub-human, not a lower class of person because of race or creed, but because of a choice of action which requires commensurate consequences."

But waterboarding someon... (Below threshold)
wolfwalker:

But waterboarding someone is to cause deliberate suffering to that person, for the purpose of coercion.

You need to expand on this. Taken literally, it could be twisted to include anything from putting a killer in solitary confinement for life to sending a bratty kid to bed without his supper.

Indeed, waterboarding is to... (Below threshold)
JSchuler:

Indeed, waterboarding is torture. Glad to see someone who accepts its use and yet isn't pussyfooting around that word. I used to think torture was out of bounds, but listening to the arguments, the left as has actually managed to convince me that it has a place. That's the problem when you put so much emphasis on associating a practice with something that was morally abhorrent: if the action is reasonable, what was abhorrent no longer is. So, while I am willing to admit that things I once did not consider to be torture, such as sleep deprivation or posing people in uncomfortable positions, are indeed torture, that admition comes at the price of me no longer possessing a blanket revulsion of the practice. So, with me at least, the left won the battle, but lost the war.

That said, I actually was curious and read the bill of rights, and I couldn't actually find a prohibition on torture. There is Amendment 8's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment, which would make using torture as a component of a sentence a crime, but punishment is distinct from intelligence gathering, in that punishment is designed to correct or dissuade action, not to extract information. If we waterboarded Khalid Sheihk Mohammed just because he was a bad guy and we thought he deserved it, that would be a Constitutional violation. Doing it because he has information that we believe will stop a second catastrophic attack, that actually falls under the Fourth Amendment, protection from unreasonable searches and seizures. The question then becomes does waterboarding, under those circumstances, in that environment, constitute an unreasonable search or seizure. Plenty of room for legitimate debate here on both sides. I for one, find it perfectly reasonable.

As a 1971 Graduate of SERE ... (Below threshold)

As a 1971 Graduate of SERE before you tell me of torture, I want you to show me the permanent injuries, scars, dislocations, broken bones, missing fingers, toes (even the nails thereof), bullet scars in the knees and elbows, the distinctive walk caused by bastinado, anything that caused actual pain and left a mark. Even the complications of malnutrition. Until then, quit with the torture talk. Like everything else our pamperrati are redefining words to make a political point and conservatives are falling for it. Scaring someone is only torture to the self absorbed. Well maybe if you scare them into cardiac arrest I might reconsider.

u dem, question:Gi... (Below threshold)
marc:

u dem, question:

Given your stance on torture will you start a "write the Congress" campaign to draw-up and pass legislation that outlaws waterboarding as it's done by the U.S. Military during both Seal and SERE training?

JShuler - "That said, I... (Below threshold)
marc:

JShuler - "That said, I actually was curious and read the bill of rights, and I couldn't actually find a prohibition on torture."

And you won't find any U.S. law enacted that prohibits waterboarding either.

Odd that, considering several congress critters were fully apprised of the enhanced interrogation techniques as they were happening.

They all nodded their head, and went silent. If they were against it then why wasn't an investigation called for and law passsed then.

Furthermore why is this wench lying thru her botox now?

It is amazing the the extre... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

It is amazing the the extreme left would rather my grandchild or their own die to make sure enhanced interrogation isn't used. Even if it is only used on specific individuals with known information. That is so nice of you lefties.

I think throwing people off buildings, whipping them, cutting off their balls, beheading is torture. UD says that makes us like them when we waterboard? What a twit. There is no comparison and I can sleep soundly tonight knowing that we are doing what is necessary to keep our citizens safe. You lefties hide behind "morality" but in fact you are pussies who started this clarian call to go after GW but now that Barry is in, you are too prideful to change your mind. ww

Is it worth making a known ... (Below threshold)
Susan:

Is it worth making a known terrorist mastermind uncomfortable for 3 minutes to save 9 plane loads of people?

That's what this discussion ultimately comes down to.

That's exactly what happened when we waterboarded KSM and got him to unravel several plots.

Waterboarding cannot be con... (Below threshold)
Chuck Fish:

Waterboarding cannot be considered torture in my book. Any time a terrorist is "aggressively interrogated", e.g. waterboarded, and comes out the other side with all his body parts intact and operating normally, then it's a legitimate technique...not torture. Torture consists of breaking or removing body parts, not getting them wet!

Jesus never condemned to... (Below threshold)
Clay:

Jesus never condemned torture.

Unless, of course, you believe that He is God (I do) and you believe that Scripture is 'God breathed' (I do).

"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets." (1 Peter 4:8)

"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." (Luke 6:27-28)

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse" (Romans 12:14)

"We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it." (1 Corinthians 4:12)

"Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:17-21)

"Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing." (1 Peter 3:9)

"Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble." (1 John 2:9-10)

You're absolutely right, DJ, we do have the duty to think carefully about this issue. I have prayed and prayed about this issue and have come to this conclusion: If I believe that I serve an almighty and omniscient God (I do) then torture is nothing more than an attempt to usurp His power. I believe you're treading some precarious terrain here. Good luck with that. But, I'll tell you, Matthew 12:36 causes me to tremble in such instances:

"But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment."

Indeed. I would be very careful if I were you.

"Jesus never condemned tort... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

"Jesus never condemned torture."-djd

Jesus "taught" something about some "Golden Rule". He gave a "talk" on that "mount", and from that "boat" just offshore, on that "sea".

Anyhoo...God is against torture illustrated by the fact that he allowed His Son to endure the most ignoble and tortuous death to erase the need of blood sacrifice of some dumb animal dispatched quickly, and to cover any loophole God specifically proscribed the torture of animals, i.e. don't slaughter a beast by suffocation. Calvary was designed in such an evidently paradoxical way (the Worst for the Best) to be a stumblingblock against mindless bandwagoneers, lest in their wicked thoughts they bet on a safe (mighty) horse and win life's race without searching out the (hidden) meaning for themselves.

A neighbor who wounds a neighbor's beast must pay a stiff fine. A neighbor's beast who hurts a man through the owner's negligence: the owner is required to pay a fine. A twice-dangerous or deadly beast is to be dispatched quickly and may not be hung up to be suffocated.

So: "If God provides for the sparrow, how much more for his children?"
---------------------------------------------
"2. The specific moral quality of an action sometimes depends on details which may not be available or clear; what is torture from one perspective may be valid behavior from another." -djd

Moral relativism, situational ethics, I like your use of the term "valid".

Calling B.F. Skinner!

OH! Hey, Clay!... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

OH!

Hey, Clay!

Clay pwns DJ.... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Clay pwns DJ.

I've never been totally con... (Below threshold)
Matt:

I've never been totally convinced that Water Boarding is not torture. If it is not torture, I am pretty sure water boarding someone 183 (or some other mutiple) times is about as close as you are going to get.

I do not consider lousy food, cold cells, stress positions, constant barrage of noise, disoreintation etc as torture.

I do consider torture to be immoral and unacceptable for a people that claim to fight wars for just and honorable reasons. We have prosecuted and executed foreign soldiers for torturing U.S. servicemen after winning wars. I don't see that being the winner makes it acceptable.

RRRoark,And all wh... (Below threshold)
WorldCitizen:

RRRoark,

And all who say we do it to our own personnel therefore we can do "similar" things to others.

There is a big difference between military training and torture. The biggest of all is that you can quit the program at any time. Does everyone who enters SERE school make it to the end?

Matt: "I've never been t... (Below threshold)

Matt: "I've never been totally convinced that Water Boarding is not torture"

They survive it, undamaged, and we have a Doctor standing by to monitor their health.

Nick Berg had people standing by when he was tortured...but only to film his head finally being cut off.

I personnaly would consider being locked up in a cell...of ANY size...to be torture. I love my freedom too much. Does that make locking ANYONE up for ANY crime "torture"???

Nope.

Clay pwns DJ.<... (Below threshold)
Clay:

Clay pwns DJ.

Sorry, but it is not about that. It is all about God and His glory. I do not understand how God is glorified by torture.

But, this I do understand: We have over 700 military bases in 130 different countries with an annual budget of nearly $1,000,000,000. If our foreign policy more resembled that of our founding father's, this debate wouldn't be happening. The Constitution grants no rights that have not already been endowed by our Creator. All of this talk about the Constitution not applying to non-US citizens is hogwash if we believe what the document says. Common Law - do all you have agreed to do, do not encroach upon other people, and do not encroach upon other people's property - applies to government's as well as individuals. But, now Common Law has been replaced with Political Law; created to encroach upon our life, liberty, and property. Political Laws allow politicians to take our (money-property) and give it to other persons to whom it does not belong; to benefit one person at the expense of another person. It also has given them the power to involve us in foreign entanglements in which we do not belong, in the name of spreading democracy that only leads to socialism. We were a Republic, not a democracy. That's changed and that's why it is no longer a government for the people.

Our original foreign policy was simply based on three principles:

1. Peaceful trade with the rest of the world
2. Avoid entanglement in their political affairs and quarrels with other nations.
3. Always remain strong enough to defend ourselves from invasion and attack.

The city of NY could be energized by the revolutions of our founders in their graves.

worldcitizen - "There i... (Below threshold)
marc:

worldcitizen - "There is a big difference between military training and torture. The biggest of all is that you can quit the program at any time. Does everyone who enters SERE school make it to the end?"

Um, does every single U.S. Military pilot from all branches of the service count? They have all served out their term, many to retirement, and all went thru and passed SERE training.

That's also true for Seal training, they number in the thousands you twit.

Just how unattached/ignorant to the reality of the U.S. Military are you?

There was a time in my life... (Below threshold)
Baggi:

There was a time in my life I thought that "rape" was something awful. Then I discovered that someone can be raped and willing, but later regret it, like a girl at a party who has too much to drink.

There was also a time in my life when I thought that "torture" was something awful. Now i'm finding out that waterboarding and putting bugs too close to terrorists is "torture".

I wonder, when we get rid of words like "Rape" and "Torture" for political expediency, what words will we use to replace them?

It's like calling President Bush a failure. His enemies misused the term so often in the past that they had to define it better by calling him a "miserable failure" because being a failure isn't so bad anymore, I suppose.

But if Iraq was a "miserable failure" then what words are we going to use for when something is truely a failure?

Hard to recognize just how damaging the misuse of language is to our shared conscience.

Clay, one point I must make... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Clay, one point I must make here to you. Be sure, be very sure when you place God on your side in these matters, that He truly says what you claim He says, and that you are not just making an idol of Him to serve your own will.

You may note, if you take the trouble to pay attention, that I never said Jesus approved of torture, nor did I make any statement wherein I claimed God was cheering for my point of view. This is because I have seen many people over the years try to fold God into a sock puppet to support their argument. Do you remember how King Saul lost the crown? He forgot his place and usurped the role of the priests and called God to his aid improperly. He did this with good intent, meaning no offense, one time, and only because Samuel was delayed and Saul thought Samuel was not coming. If Saul could lose so much for that instance, think what you risk when you proclaim that God agrees with you without asking Him first?

Pride was the first sin. I bid you consider that. As to the rest of your point, including the fictional version of America's first foreign policy, I merely state that I consider you far from accurate - one needs only consider why we had a Navy and Marine Corps so early in our history. "The shores of Tripoli" are not in the continental United States, sir, even now.

You are all hypocrites in t... (Below threshold)
Abdul Bari:

You are all hypocrites in the way you search the Bible to justify your countries actions. For if you really followed what the Bible told you to do, you would not be much different than us.

Your Bible makes very clear the penalty for commiting the following actions:

Anybody that commits blasphemy should be put to death.

And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him. Leviticus 24:16


People that believe in other religions shall be put to death.

If there be found among you ... that ... hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them ... Then shalt thou ... tone them with stones, till they die. Deuteronomy 17:2-5

Anybody who works on the sabbath shall be put to death.

They found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. ... And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones.... And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses. Numbers 15:32-56


A child should be put to death for not obeying his/her father father.

If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother ... Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city ... And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die. Deuteronomy 21:18-21

Any man that sleeps with a married woman should be put to death.

If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city. Deuteronomy 22:23-24


Anybody found to be a witch or wizard should be put to death.

A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them. Leviticus 20:27

For the edification of worl... (Below threshold)
marc:

For the edification of worldcitizen who seems to be completely and utterly clueless about U.S. Military practices, here is a complete and accurate description of SERE training.

And note it has been conducted since just after the Korean War.

marc,Everybody who... (Below threshold)
WorldCitizen:

marc,

Everybody who started SEAL and SERE training passed? I went through Ranger school and we had about a 50% drop out rate. I guess it is true what they say about the Air Force and Navy. Bunch of wimps with pussy level training. You twit. Ouch.

Abdul, you might want to ac... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Abdul, you might want to actually take a course on the Old Testament. You know, learn about context? But then, that might get in the way of your own rather blatant hypocrisy, would it not?

Those of you who argue t... (Below threshold)
Sue:

Those of you who argue that God (Jesus) would not approve of torture, is against war, is for tolerance of all including homosexuals, abortionist, etc, are treating Jesus (God) as if He is a warm fuzzy who's only attribute is LOVE. Yes, He is love, but He is also a just God who hates sin and will judge everyone at the end of time.

When Jesus told us to love our enemies He was not talking about nations or large groups of people who are doing evil (or if you can't stand that word, then wrong). He is talking about individual people who for some reason hate us.

These are some of the Laws that God gave His own people the Jews.

Numbers 35:30
" 'Anyone who kills a person is to be put to death as a murderer only on the testimony of witnesses. But no one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.

Leviticus 20:27 " 'A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.' "

Leviticus 20: 10 " 'If a man commits adultery with another man's wife--with the wife of his neighbor--both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.

Now it is true that we are not bound to the civil laws that God put in place for His people. (Just as we are not bound by the ceremonial laws, but are bound by the moral laws.) But these give you a picture of how God views sin-including the killing of an innocent person, which is exactly what the terrorists have done and are doing.

As for war, this is what God commanded the Israelites,

Numbers 25: 16 The LORD said to Moses, 17 "Treat the Midianites as enemies and kill them.

It is true that God has not told us specifically to "kill" as in "war" with any specific group, however He is not opposed to enacting justice upon those who do evil. In fact, He used war to enact His justice.

And yes I consider those who are terrorists to be evil. The kill innocent people, and that is evil, or just plain wrong.

Given this, water boarding a terrorist (especially how it has been done in such a limited manner) is minor and I don't believe it is something God would hate.

Those of you who think that God is a warm fuzzy all the time need to start reading the bible and get to know the REAL GOD-not the one you wish HE were or the way you think He ought to be.

DJ,I suggest you d... (Below threshold)
Abdul Bari:

DJ,

I suggest you do the same and take a course on the Qur'ān. What do you mean by context? It sounds like an excuse/justification to not make the sacrifices that God demands from all of us. Gods words are clearly defined in your Bible. To not take God literally is to disobey him.

"Um, does every single U.S.... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

"Um, does every single U.S. Military pilot from all branches of the service count? They have all served out their term, many to retirement, and all went thru and passed SERE training."-marc

SERE training is TORTURE resistance(&c.) training. Jeez!

But I'll throw you a bone. Keith Olberman pronounces SERE as "seeree" as opposed to the correct (Marine Corps) pronunciation of "seer".

And no, I wasn't "volunteered" to represent the USMC at SERE School while I was in. Only Supermarines were allowed to "represent" lest I let Chesty Puller down. My PFT wasn't high enough (3-mile run: 23:20).
--------------------------------------------

"There was a time in my life I thought that "rape" was something awful." -baggi

...and he ends up pledging allegiance to Bush.
The end.

Understand that I am not sa... (Below threshold)
Sue:

Understand that I am not saying that God would approve of torture.

What I am saying is those of you that think this is an open and shut case because God is a God of Love are not looking at who God really is.

It's much more complicated than that, and a case can certainly be made that waterboarding in a case by case situation would be appropriate.

worldcitizen - "Everybo... (Below threshold)
marc:

worldcitizen - "Everybody who started SEAL and SERE training passed? I went through Ranger school and we had about a 50% drop out rate. I guess it is true what they say about the Air Force and Navy. Bunch of wimps with pussy level training. You twit. Ouch."

Really, what company, division, years of service? Yeah I think your lying 'cause the Rangers go thru the very same program and techniques.

In addition to making a false implication that failures from both programs were due to waterboarding.

SEAL training has a dropout rate in access of 50% and like the SERE program they occur far in advance of the section on waterboarding.

Uninformed asswipe.

Understand that I am not... (Below threshold)
Abdul Bari:

Understand that I am not saying that God would approve of torture.

What I am saying is those of you that think this is an open and shut case because God is a God of Love are not looking at who God really is.

It's much more complicated than that, and a case can certainly be made that waterboarding in a case by case situation would be appropriate.

Sue, I agree with your post.

"Jesus never condemned t... (Below threshold)
914:

"Jesus never condemned terrorism"?

What the ....? He never bought me a 12 pac either. Whats your friggen point?

Those of you who argue t... (Below threshold)
SkyBlue:

Those of you who argue that God (Jesus) would not approve of torture, is against war, is for tolerance of all including homosexuals, abortionist...

Sue,

You left out slavery. The Bible does not specifically condemn the practice of slavery. It gives instructions on how slaves should be treated (Deuteronomy 15:12-15; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1), but does not outlaw the practice altogether.

I hope you do not believe slavery should be made legal.

marc,1987 - 1991 B... (Below threshold)
WorldCitizen:

marc,

1987 - 1991 Bravo company 3rd/75th. Weapons platoon. 11C. If you must know.

I did not imply that failures were from waterboarding, they don't do that in Ranger school by the way, obviously you don't know that. And no Ranger school is not the same training as SERE and SEAL training.

I was addressing the people that imply that military training makes it okay to torture.

I apologize to the Air Force and Navy service members and veterans.

Call me some more names. They make your point so well.

914,My point is, i... (Below threshold)
WorldCitizen:

914,

My point is, if you are going to pick out of a hat what Jesus did not condemn that would be a very long list. I don't think he condemned female circumcision, or child molestation, or genocide either. Are you willing to argue for any of them?

It is a disingenuous way to start an argument.

But Jesus went to... (Below threshold)
JSchuler:
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. "Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?" They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more."

Always be suspicious of those who quote the Old Testament as proof that Christianity endorses capital punishment. They tend to be the sort who have ADD and never make it to the Gospel.

Now, where Jesus is silent is on instances where the lives of others are at stake. While I certainly would not want to be tortured, and so that would be prohibited by the golden rule, I would also want someone to do everything in their power to save the lives of my loved ones, which would then make torture permissible under the same rubric. Once you involve a third party, morality gets tricky.

Too bad you can't read simp... (Below threshold)
marc:

Too bad you can't read simple English wc, it's fairly easy to decipher every pilot since the Korean War has entered and passed SERE training, but not to you.

And yes.. you're an asshole.

Happy now that I fit in your little cubbyhole for so called "wingnuts?"

Sue,Timothy 2:11-1... (Below threshold)
SkyBlue:

Sue,

Timothy 2:11-13 "Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence For Adam was first formed, then Eve."

In other words keep your mouth shut.

If Saul could lose so mu... (Below threshold)
Clay:

If Saul could lose so much for that instance, think what you risk when you proclaim that God agrees with you without asking Him first?

DJ, what I said was that God is almighty, therefore, I am not (A is A, A is not non-A). Does Scripture not say what it says? You said that Jesus didn't condemn torture. It is you who needs to be careful. I know who I am and, more importantly, who I am not. I pray not that God agrees with me, but that I agree with Him. I don't concentrate on where He is silent, but on what He has spoken. Your claim that God is silent on torture is false. Torture is not love, it is evil.

one needs only consider why we had a Navy and Marine Corps so early in our history. "The shores of Tripoli"

And exactly what is the history of the Barbary pirates and how does that make the case for an early interventionist foreign policy? Before 1776, American ships sailed the seas complacent in knowing that its merchant ships were protected by Great Britain, history's most powerful naval force. Upon declaring independence for ourselves, British protection disappeared and the new nation was confronted by a serious threat in the Middle East. Specifically, it came from the pirate kingdoms of the North African region of Maghreb, known to the U.S. as the Barbary States.

For nearly six centuries the Barbary pirates attacked European merchant ships, taking prisoners, and selling them into slavery. The Barbary nations considered themselves at war with any nation that had failed to negotiate a "peace treaty" with them for a tribute -- our young nation found itself in the class of enemy nations.

American leaders recognized that the dispute between the U.S. and the Barbary states was undoubtedly a threat to national security and it was dealt with in that regard. It was not a crusade for an ideology, it wasn't an excuse for a war with no clear aims, nor did the U.S. intend to occupy a sovereign country. America simply honored its stated foreign policy objectives: Peaceful free trade with the world.

Instead of focusing on spreading democracy (which Karl Marx called "the road to socialism"), America should allow all nations the right of self-determination and stay out of the internal affairs of other countries as the founders advocated more than two hundred years ago. As Michael Scheuer, an author and 22-year veteran of the CIA, eloquently writes,

"America's democracy is not an exportable commodity; it is unique to the United States and the product of 800 years of heroes and villains, war and civil war, racial strife and racial reconciliation, and foolishness and common sense... it is grounded in Britain's political experience, Scottish commonsense philosophy, British common law, Calvinist Protestant Christianity, and the absolute requirement of an educated populace to evaluate--and when necessary check--the policies, ambitions, and greed of elected officials."

You need a break, DJ. You've got Bush on the brain.

Marc, you said: And you won... (Below threshold)
JC Hammer:

Marc, you said: And you won't find any U.S. law enacted that prohibits water boarding either. You may be correct on that, but in 1983, a Texas sheriff, and 3 of his deputies were prosecuted and convicted by the Justice Dept for water boarding some criminals.

How could they be convicted if their is no law about it? I don't know the answer to that, but it did happen. And yes, the crooks were American citizens.

WCJesus did not co... (Below threshold)
914:

WC

Jesus did not come to condemn the world (people) 2000 years ago..

marc,Are you the w... (Below threshold)
WorldCitizen:

marc,

Are you the wingnut or am I?

914,

He did not come to condone torture either.

I never said He did.... (Below threshold)
914:

I never said He did.

Amazing, how much people re... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Amazing, how much people read what they want to read, and can miss what is right there.

And Abdul, for what it's worth, I have taken a class on the Quran. It's one way I pegged ObL as an apostate when I first heard of him in 1995. He does what Clay does, he wants God/Allah to fit into his box.

Jay,It does not ge... (Below threshold)
Abdul Bari:

Jay,

It does not get any clearer than this:

Jesus orders Christians to follow the Law of Moses in the Old Testament:

"Do not think that I [Jesus] have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke or a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. (Matthew 5:17-18)"

It is quite clear from these verses from the New Testament that Jesus did honor the Old Testament and did say that every single "letter" of it has to be honored, followed and fulfilled.

DJ,Please except m... (Below threshold)
Abdul Bari:

DJ,

Please except my appology. I inadvertantly referred to you as Jay in the above post. I meant no disrespect by doing so.

The superimposition of a re... (Below threshold)
epador:

The superimposition of a religious debate and a military bar bragging ritual is truly unique to my time reading WB threads. Wow.

Holy moly--it's almost as i... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Holy moly--it's almost as if theology and contemporary moral philosophy and pragmatic politicking have nothing to do with one another!

Jesus didn't eat meat on Fridays and he palled around with hookers. Can we please exclude that poor guy from any substantive conversations about Western geopolitics? I don't think he's a very good example to hold up--too far out in left field, as it were.

He does what Clay does, ... (Below threshold)
Clay:

He does what Clay does, he wants God/Allah to fit into his box.

DJ,

You made a claim:

"Jesus never condemned torture."

I say, "Really? How are you equipped to say that?" and I provide 7 Scripture references that command us to love our enemies, to bless those who persecute us, and to overcome evil with good.

And yet you claim:

"Jesus never condemned torture."

Which of us is putting God in a box? I suggest you accept your own advice to be very careful, "and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

What is good and acceptable and perfect?

it's almost as if theolo... (Below threshold)
Clay:

it's almost as if theology and contemporary moral philosophy and pragmatic politicking have nothing to do with one another!

Almost, by appearance that is. But, I thought you were a nominalist.

BTW, did you like the Kant ... (Below threshold)
Clay:

BTW, did you like the Kant song?

Pragmatic politicking. That... (Below threshold)
Clay:

Pragmatic politicking. That's funny. I almost missed it. Great alliteration, but it's hard to dance to.

"Jesus didnt eat meat on... (Below threshold)
914:

"Jesus didnt eat meat on fridays and he palled around with hookers. Can we please exclude that poor guy from any substantive conversations about western geopolitics."."

That depends? Can we with the same broadswipe erasure of history erase you from this blog??

We await your final submission accomplished.

WCJesus did n... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:
WC

Jesus did not come to condemn the world (people) 2000 years ago..

You're right, 914. Satan is the accuser, Jesus is the Redeemer.

As far as Christ's torture is concerned, the reason he did not condemn his own torture and crucifixion is because his blood was meant to be shed for our sins. He also said that his kingdom was not of this world, otherwise his servants would fight to prevent him from being delivered to the Jews. John 18:36

When he rose from the dead, he conquered death and sin so that we might live and be redeemed in the eyes of the Almighty. Christ already knew the fate of the ones behind his crucifixion and called them out: "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?" Matthew 23:33.

So, if this torture that we are defining has its origin in the synagogue of Satan, a bloodline that exists to this day in the shadows, the end result will be the condemnation of their race and idol worship.

Before Christ was arrested, he commanded that we love one another as he has loved us. The origin of all this torture is where we need to take a deeper look, and not whether it is justified.

DJ,Good post (and th... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

DJ,
Good post (and this comments thread reflects it). Though you are almost always wrong, at least your nose isn't stuck inside the Drudge Report and National Review of Girly Men Online.

Al Bari,
You're an interesting commentator, but your post #32 is without context. "Rightly dividing"the Word is key to understanding. The life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ introduced the concept of grace which gives back the status of Friendship with God that Adam and Eve enjoyed in Eden before sneaking behind God's back and Eve allowing herself (with Adam's approval) to be inseminated by Lucifer, thus allowing the entree of the "bad seed" (Cain) in the human gene pool (referred to by Christ as "Scribes and Pharisees" and the "children of Satan" who deserve to go to "their father", "the serpent" "from whence they came").

It's why God "hated" Cain while Cain was still "in the womb". Cain's offspring, the "seed of the serpent", were born to TORTURE Christ to death. Radical! And much more interesting than obsolete Hebrew legalism.

Why did God allow it? To sacrifice Himself for our benefit. The ultimate Conspiracy: God and Satan: Satan gets a few thousand years of fun (which Satan THINKS will *never* end (the perpetual kid)), and then...poof! He never existed, tears wiped, new name, Omega.

(Yeah, I know! Pity the self-satisfied "soul winner" that presents a "program" to me in line at Wal-Mart!)

NOT bragging!

Anyway, ElBari, your examples are each negated within the Gospels and Book of Acts.
Clay can probably cite them. Call me the brainwashed riffer. 0:D

"Jesus didn't eat meat on F... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

"Jesus didn't eat meat on Fridays and he palled around with hookers."

hyper, he'd even pal around with you if he didn't think you an enemy and obeyed his commandments.

Before Christ was arrest... (Below threshold)
Clay:

Before Christ was arrested, he commanded that we love one another as he has loved us. The origin of all this torture is where we need to take a deeper look, and not whether it is justified.

I think I'll end my discussion on that note. I cannot say anything more...humbling.

God bless.

By the way HYPERBOLIST... H... (Below threshold)
914:

By the way HYPERBOLIST... How do you know what Jesus ate or when He ate it or who He palled around with? Were you there?

"Jesus did honor the Old Te... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

"Jesus did honor the Old Testament and did say that every single "letter" of it has to be honored, followed and fulfilled."
55. Posted by Abdul Bari

Jesus was sacrificed and resurrected. New World Order, out of many (laws), One.

bryan, the New World Order ... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

bryan, the New World Order is the final deception, courtesy of the synagogue of Satan. When the anti-christ and his army are destroyed will be a New Age with Jesus as the ruler.

Forever and ever amen... (Below threshold)
914:

Forever and ever amen

"bryan, the New World Order... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

"bryan, the New World Order is the final deception, courtesy of the synagogue of Satan. When the anti-christ and his army are destroyed will be a New Age with Jesus as the ruler."
70. Posted by LaMedusa

Let's pretend I didn't capitalize N, W, and O and see if my point remains...(it does).

Or not.

Let's see: souls in spiritual bodies, Age 1.
Creation of physical bodies, Age 2.
Re-elevation to spiritual bodies, post-millennium, Age 3.

OK. I was...sorta...wrong (Jesus visited the middle of the 2nd age)...BUT:

YOU said: "When the anti-christ and his army are destroyed will be a New Age with Jesus as the ruler."

Au contrair! Satan will rise again POST-MILLENNEUM (post-"anti-christ") to challenge God for a "short time", will be finally defeated, Hell will be invented, and Satan and his angels cast in forthwith and forever, and Hell destroyed.

But then again...the Elect are granted spiritual bodies at the ONSET of the Millennium (to assist God in teaching the non-elect). And THEN the graduates (the remedials) are given spiritual bodies, too, now being reconciled to God...

So which class of human transfiguration signal the 3rd age?

I'll grant you are probably right. Man per se isn't the measure of God, but Man reconciled to God. Thus the progress of the Elect from the foundation of the world is the true measure.

Good call.

P.S. I was banned the 1st of 3 times from Wizbang for exactly this kind of post when Jay Tea's head exploded. Re-reading myself, I almost understand why, but since I've spent 30 minutes(!) of my life typing it, I'll let it stand.

jc hammer - "How could ... (Below threshold)
marc:

jc hammer - "How could they be convicted if their is no law about it? I don't know the answer to that, but it did happen. And yes, the crooks were American citizens."

There is U.S. law that covers U.S. citizens you bumbling nitwit.

The question was, that you chose to ignore, was why didn't pelosi and others that KNEW waterboarding was or was going to be used scream about it them? Why are they all forming a lynching mob now when they could have prevented it tehn?

I think I'll end my discuss... (Below threshold)

I think I'll end my discussion on that note. I cannot say anything more...humbling.

Timothy 2:11-13 "L... (Below threshold)
Sue:
Timothy 2:11-13 "Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence For Adam was first formed, then Eve."

In other words keep your mouth shut.

48. Posted by SkyBlue

Another non Christian who wants to argue with Christians and say that they are wrong by cherry picking from the bible.

If you are going to quote the bible you better do so in context-what you wrote was not in context.

Of course Paul said that the Ephesian women were not to teach-they didn't have enough knowledge about Christianity and Christ. They were new Christians. Additionally women at that time were not allowed to study. But he did tell them to study and learn which was very "progressive" at that time.

Paul never said that women could not teach-indeed Paul mentioned several women who held positions of responsibility and authority in the church.

Here "silence" means and attitude of quietness and composure. There is a different Greek word to convey "complete silence".

I you can't put passages into context you shouldn't be citing them.

Of course, those who have knowledge and a something to add to the topic don't use the "shut up" tactic. Only those who are unable to refute what someone has said do that.

If one studies an issue suc... (Below threshold)
Clay:

If one studies an issue such as this with care and is not able to discern whether a matter is elementary or customary, what should one do? Here a principle of humility comes into play, a principle set forth in the New Testament axiom that "whatever is not from faith is sin". Remember the old adage, "When in doubt, don't"? If we are over-scrupulous and regard an action as a principle, then we are guilty of no sin -- no harm, no foul. On the other hand, if we treat a principle (intentionally or not) as an action that can be set aside because our claim is that we cannot find moral limits, we are guilty of disobeying God.

More reason to tremble when we read, "But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment."

Sue, I agree. The lesson fr... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Sue, I agree. The lesson from Paul goes back further. When the jews met in temple, the men would be in the main sanctuary and the wives and daughters would be just outside the area but can look in and hear. During the lesson, and discussion, the wives or daughter would shout to their husbands or fathers to ask this question or that question. It was distracting and thus the "women should be silent" rule was spoken. When Christians grew in love and wisdom and knowlege, the "fixed" the problem by letting women into the sanctuary. At least that is what I believe from study.

The Old Testement is a moving shadow of Jesus throughout. Since the fall of man in the garden, it became GODS desire to return to the one on one relationship he had with Adam and a few other devout men. He made the law for men to follow which was rigid and dealt with blood sacrifice. The sacrifice was a practice of the ultimate sacrifice GOD Himself would give with his only begotten son. Now, GOD has us back where he originally intended for us to be. We each can commune with God. We can boldly go into the throneroom of grace with our prayers. We do not have to go to a mortal man to approach God for us. One thing we keep in mind as Christians, we are sinners.

How this wonderful story gets convoluted into politics and protection of our families, I have no idea. To me, "Render up to Ceasar what is Ceasar's" is not just about money. It is about what to do as citizens in a community, state, country or province, wherever. ww

I see some people missed po... (Below threshold)

I see some people missed point or only read the first phrase. It is NOT that I went through SERE (BTW mine was SF not the pilots' versions), my point was and still is:

I want you to show me the permanent injuries, scars, dislocations, broken bones, missing fingers, toes (even the nails thereof), bullet scars in the knees and elbows, the distinctive walk caused by bastinado, anything that caused actual pain and left a mark. Even the complications of malnutrition. Until then, quit with the torture talk. Like everything else our pamperrati are redefining words to make a political point and conservatives are falling for it. Scaring someone is only torture to the self absorbed. Well maybe if you scare them into cardiac arrest I might reconsider.

We have redefined the word torture downward until it means no more than "unpleasant treatment" and because of the limits placed on SERE instructors, I didn't consider that torture and neither did they. I repeat the actions demonstrated at SERE are not torture, so don't give me that nonsense "just because we do it to our ...". It is at most the hint of torture, and all this publicized nonsense is of great help to the other side's trainers who can point at it and say, "See, they are too weak to use our methods, you won't really be hurt..." so that in the future the methods we use won't have the effect they had. It will be like SERE training. "I know they won't permanently damage me. It's an empty threat."

Clay: I did like the... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Clay: I did like the Kant song. I would have very much appreciated such a run-down of transcendentalism a few years ago when I was struggling through the Critique of Pure Reason. Tough slog, that.

I admire the fact that you're consistent in your Christianity: no Christian would ever support torture as a means to an end. Christians would let their children die rather than renounce their principles. (They did, when the Romans tried to snuff them out.)

LaMedusa, I'd be interested to know why Jesus would consider me his enemy.

914: Mary Magdalene was a hooker (using the word non-pejoratively, as that obviously does not make her a bad person). Jesus was her pal, and some have even speculated that he may have been her boyfriend. Again, there would be nothing wrong with that--unless you desperately try to shoehorn the teachings of Christ into an obstinately puritanical worldview. And far be it from me to suggest that a gentleman and a scholar such as yourself would ever do such an unlearned thing!

RRRoark, your view is in conflict with that of the United States government. Furthermore, even the methods you dispute as being 'tortuous' are regarded by this interrogator as being unhelpful, not to mention immoral.

We are still saying the sam... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

We are still saying the same thing. We conservatives do not condone torture. We just don't believe waterboarding is. If we believe is isn't, then our morality, (which is so important to the baby seal clubbing to death Hyper) is intact and not comprimised. ww

"LaMedusa, I'd be intereste... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

"LaMedusa, I'd be interested to know why Jesus would consider me his enemy."

Never said he would, hyper. You were commenting on Christ's diet choices and who he "palled around" with. I included you in the mix, provided those two requisites were in place.

Also, hyper. Where in the ... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

Also, hyper. Where in the new testament is Mary referred to as a "hooker" or prostitute? I would like to see the scriptural reference.

We just don't believe wa... (Below threshold)
Clay:

We just don't believe waterboarding is [torture].

Hmmm. Evidently, the Bush administration thought it was torture. This footnote in a Bush administration memo from 2005, intended to establish a legal basis for 'aggressive interrogation' techniques, describes waterboarding as falling within the administration's definition of torture.

http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/Footnote1.png

So, you say 'conservatives' do not condone torture, but Bush obviously did.

No offense, but I do have to bristle at your use of the conservative moniker. I believe that a more accurate description your ideology would be neo-conservative. There is a difference, y'know, and we true conservatives aren't through with the name yet.

"You're now arguing moral r... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

"You're now arguing moral relativity which I believe is something conservatives have been accusing others of doing for years."

You are mistaking neo-cons for conservatives again. There is nothing relative about morality unless you want to rationalize sin.

And I was curious about comments 74 through 77: Are you all the same commenter, or are you all commenting from a rehab center in the same ghillie suit?

Clay, obviously by 2005 and... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Clay, obviously by 2005 and the clamor from the left on torture and a year and some after Abu Gahib a redefining had to take place for appeasment. Obviously from 2001 to 2005 GW did approve and use the technique.

Now, Clay, I have respect for you, but please do not label me with any moniker you think. If saying "We conservatives" irritated you, that is fine, state that, but to label me is playing the extreme left game who I have no respect for. ww

DJ,I don't know ho... (Below threshold)
jmc:

DJ,

I don't know how to describe this piece other than flawed. Making the hard decsion does not mean making the irratonal one.

There are so many things in what you wrote, that I take issue with that it would take me all day to get through most of them. I will demonstrate a few though.

People who demand that terrorists be tried as criminals and given the legal rights and protections granted to any ordinary suspect, must accept that in doing so they are contributing to the suffering and death of innocent people.

Oh man, this is wrong on so many levels. First off you have not estalished any link between giving terror suspects a trial and that causing more deaths. Which you are going to have to prove before I start feeling responsible. Secondly, I presume you accept the converse of your own logic. That is, were I to prove that torture has been a valuable recruting tool for terror groups, which gives them more soilders to kill Americans with, that you are willing to accept you have caused the deaths of innocents when they attack based on your support of a policy that aids their recruting. Agreed?

Thirdly, while you are arguing that terorist have super secret training, to resist normal interagation, I would like to point out it worked on the Nazis (Who you might say were subhuman based on that whole lets exterminate the Jews, Poles, gays, and all non aryans thing) or the Japanese (Who did suicide bombings) or the North Koreans (Who seem pretty barbaric, in fact, didn't they waterboard our troops?)

in fact, Jail cells are packed with barbaric sub-human kind of folk. Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, We executed Timothy Mcveigh (who wished he killed more). Our judcial system would have handled Khalid Sheihk Mohammed just fine.

If you started reading this article expecting or hoping for a clear argument for or against the use of torture, you will be unsatisfied by this piece. My point for here, is that we all have the moral obligation to consider that our comfortable personal moralities all have boundaries, and those boundaries are protected by those who do what we cannot or will not do for ourselves.

DJ, I ask you to read what you wrote again because clearly it is an argument for why torture is justifed. You asked those who feel torture is not something we should do under any circumstances, to examine whether they are hiding, in the lofty clouds, from the consequences of their beleifs. You do this without asking those who beleive the opposite to do the same.

People who feel these techniques work, need to ask themselves some hard questions as well. is this making Al Quaeda stronger by giving them a reason to tell those in the ARAB world on the fence that AMERICA is torturing their brothers? Yes Osama Bin laden will be against us no matter what we do. But there are moderates who are being radicalized by these policies.

Also, you need to examine whether you are making America less safe by making those who might help us, share information with us, and otherwise aid us against terrorism, hate us because they are appaled at our actions. Think about this for a moment, in Jordan before we invaded Iraq America had a 30% aproval rating. that is low of course, but it means some nut goes into a bar and says, "I'm goig to blow up the statue of liberty" 3 out of ten guys (30%) in that bar like America and might report it to the authorties . Now our approval there is less than 1%. meaning the same guy walks into a bar says the same thing only 1 out of every hundred people like america and might feel inclined to prevent it. Ask yourself is this policy is uniting our enemies and dividing our friends?

You also need to examine whether there is any danger of innocents falling into the hands of those we desginate to interogate, without giving them any recourse to prove their innocence. See the case of Dilowar I mentioned. A man, who was killed in custody of Americans. He was innocent.

Also, examine what the odds are, we are getting bad inteliigence because some will yell anything they think you want to hear in order to make the pain stop. You are failing to examine whether, the fact that america uses these policies will be a rationlization of enemies of America to use them against our troops. I know the rebuttal conservatives will use is that terrorist would use them against us anyway. that misses the point.

I ask you on the right to come of your lofy horses and examine the consequenses of your actions. You are putting America in danger.

"I ask you on the right to ... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

"I ask you on the right to come of your lofy(sic) horses and examine the consequenses of your actions. You are putting America in danger."

It's not the "right's actions, jmc." It's the money-changers and the corrupt shadow government.

Start with your own actions, and what you believe to be "moral", then write and call the government officials that represent your community. "Danger" is subversive and many times needs to be dealt with in the same fashion. It's not about "lofty" finger pointing toward the left or right, its about your own choice to make a difference.

The whole concept of hell i... (Below threshold)
Rich:

The whole concept of hell is about torture isn't it? An eternity in the lake of fire sounds like toture to me. I would think God/Jesus actually do condone torture. That is unless it is okay because it is God doing(allowing)it and man cannot. Just my thoughts on it. I don't read or study the bible. I guess I can look forward to an eternity of torture after I die. Hope I am not tortured to death first as that would really suck.

I would think God/Jesus ... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

I would think God/Jesus actually do condone torture.

God did punish His people and their enemies in the Old Testament, but from what I can remember, He never tortured anyone. Execution is something I disagree with--categorically--but I think there is a more reasonable argument to be made for it than there is for torture. And I think the Bible reflects that--though someone who has been to mass or studied the Bible within the past ten years is more than welcome to correct me.

Clay, it's increasingly obvious to me that you're the sort of person I get along with, regardless of insurmountable intellectual disagreements. You might enjoy this article, about two larger-than-life individuals written by their son with whom they often butted heads. Touching, eloquent, and in-and-of-itself a strong example of the superior content found within legacy newspapers.

I apologize - I mistyped. ... (Below threshold)
Hyperapologist:

I apologize - I mistyped. I disagree with torture and execution, except when it is used on conservatives and/or Republicans.

JOB. Not employment Hyper, ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

JOB. Not employment Hyper, the Old Testament. A very rough torture story.

Islamist Terrorists want to kill us, no questions and no mercy, yet the lefty trolls state we are putting America in danger. What can be worse then certain death? ww

Willie: was God trying to e... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Willie: was God trying to extract information from him? Or was he testing his fortitude? And furthermore, do you think that that actually happened, or do you think the story of Job is just that: a story?

I'm beginning to understand how you could be so certain while being so misguided: you perceive America to be the sum total of its citizens, rather than an abstract set of ideals upon which a particular society happens to have been founded. If the former is designed in such a way that violence is done to the latter, then I no longer have a reason to care about the welfare of those constituents to a stronger degree than, say, the misguided but principled opponents of those ideals.

When the ideals that make your country great become less important to you than your own life, or the life of certain others for whom you hold great affection, then you do violence to America the Concept, which is transcendentally valuable; whereas America the Place is only material.

Now you can say that placing higher value on abstract concepts than on living people is perverse, but such vitriol would likely be motivated in part by a defensiveness brought on by the realization that your principled love of liberty and modern Western values is indexed and not fundamental.

So, hyper. Please clarify ... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

So, hyper. Please clarify again which is the "abstract concept", which is "misguided principles", which are the "living people" as opposed to "just a story"?

And where did you say that specific scriptural reference to Mary Magdelene being a hooker was?

The whole concept ... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:
The whole concept of hell is about torture isn't it? An eternity in the lake of fire sounds like toture to me.

That would be one way to perceive how Satan and his brood get there, is it just a concept. In reality, its their own evil that becomes their judgment. The torture is having the lake of fire without the mirage of pleasures to mask the destiny.

So, hyper. Please... (Below threshold)
jmc:
So, hyper. Please clarify again which is the "abstract concept", which is "misguided principles", which are the "living people" as opposed to "just a story"?

Well, I'm sure Hyper could answer this better than me, but What I perceive him to be saying is that he believes what our ForeFathers had in mind was a certain kind of country they wanted to create.

They believed for instance, that all men were created equal, and that all men regardless of where they are born have a particular set of inalienable rights. They believed in free speech, Being Innocent of a crime until proven guilty. etc... Because they believed these things the forefathers set about trying to create a place in the world where these ideas would be upheld. A Safe haven if you will. The United states was a country that practiced these principles. in essence these ideals were the abstract concept upon which we based our nation.

I think Hyper is arguing (and I would agree) That Willie has not given a great deal of thought to these ideals and values we based our nation upon. He operates more from the idea that America is where Americans live. Patriotic sure, but thinking that more important than protecting the concept that our forefathers created, their dream of liberty, Willie would rather sacrifice those ideals to keep people safe. Even if it means giving up certain liberties. or denying certain principles we were founded on. In so doing, however Willie, doesn't realize he is helping to bring down the America our for fathers tried to create.

No matter how many time you bring up Thomas Jefferson, Or James Madison or George Washington and what they believed it will not phase Willie. America is not about their ideals in his mind. Which is terribly sad as those, ideals are what make us great.

I learned what a prostitute... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

I learned what a prostitute is in Sunday School when I was ten years old from a nun because I was curious who Mary Magdelene was and what she did, as she wasn't an apostle. I believe the explanation was "Prostitutes let men pay them to be their girlfriend for a while." Oh, Sister Anne, you wily old sugar-coater! But a few minutes of research shows that that is not based on scripture, but on a speech of Pope Gregory's. While her town was lousy with hookers, she was not specifically referred to one in the Bible.

So it's dubious. But she was a "sinful woman", and Jesus didn't hold it against her. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone," and all that.

The abstract concepts are the ideals upon which your country are founded. I never said anything about "misguided principles", though I said "misguided but principled"--referring, for example, to Islamic terrorists. And I refer to the story of Job as "just a story", because it's just a story. It didn't happen, though that doesn't detract from the value of the story.

Did that include their slav... (Below threshold)
Rich:

Did that include their slaves or the native American population?

Did that include ... (Below threshold)
jmc:
Did that include their slaves or the native American population?

So what are you saying they were hypocritical? At times? sure. But they set down a list of ideals we should emulate. I think most of us beleive that slavery was wrong because all men are created equal. It was a case when we ignored our principles.

Do you really think we should be doing that again? Ignoring our principles? The exampele you gave of ignoring princiles wiped out millions of people and kept milions more in bondage. I think we should avoid those things.

If saying "We conservati... (Below threshold)
Clay:

If saying "We conservatives" irritated you, that is fine, state that, but to label me is playing the extreme left game who I have no respect for.

You're absolutely right. I apologize for labeling you, a trait I dislike in others. My bad.

To wit, traditional or 'old right' conservatism could not condone torture, and is historically anti-war. We would not even be having this discussion if the neo-conservatives had not highjacked the GOP.

Old-right conservatives trace their philosophical genealogy through intellectuals such as Richard Weaver, Russell Kirk, and Mr. Republican himself, Robert Taft, to the founding fathers. Russell Kirk summed up the intllectual basis for a non-interventionist foreign policy in this: "Not by force of arms are civilizations held together, but by subtle threads of moral and intellectual principle."

It has always been the conservatives who have fought to keep us out of war, and the progressives, like Wilson, Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy, that rushed us into it. War robs us of our own liberty by giving governement the most plausible of excuses to grow.

We need to get back to our conservative roots. Let the progressives attempt an empire, and let us oppose it.

Clay, it's increasingly ... (Below threshold)
Clay:

Clay, it's increasingly obvious to me that you're the sort of person I get along with,

Thanks, but your sucking-up isn't going to make me go easy on you.

Isn't there a link or something for the article? Sheesh. Are you drinking one of those gay beers with an orange slice? Hey, if I ever make my way to Toronto, I'll buy you a real beer. Maybe there's hope for you.

So it's dubious. B... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:
So it's dubious. But she was a "sinful woman", and Jesus didn't hold it against her. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone," and all that.

Not in the least. The adulterous woman was never named, but accused by the Pharisees and challenged Jesus' sense of justice when they brought her before him. This is what he said to them: "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground."

When everyone left, Jesus said: "When Jesus had lifted up Himself, and saw none but the woman, He said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?" She replied, "She said, No man, Lord."
"And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." John 8

Nowhere does it say this adulterous woman was a prostitute, or that it was Mary Magdelene. According to the Bible, Jesus drove demons from Mary, and that is all that is said about their first encounter in the book of Luke. All the rest of the references speak of her being present before and after the crucifixion, and after the resurrection.

Why don't you just surmise that all the books in the Bible are just stories if you really believe that and leave it there? They certainly are not to those who believe they are inspired and written by God with the hand of man.

And I refer to the... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:
And I refer to the story of Job as "just a story", because it's just a story. It didn't happen, though that doesn't detract from the value of the story.

What about American history, is that also just a story?

DJ, this is the best piece ... (Below threshold)
Alan:

DJ, this is the best piece of writing I have seen on the subject, period. It has really helped clarify the issue for me.

I especially like your point that we ask our military to inflict violence on the enemy already; it does not diminish us or destroy our military. But torture, when necessary, must be applied as a precision munition or we destroy what we desire to protect.

Either we're a Nation of La... (Below threshold)
Justice58:

Either we're a Nation of Laws or we're Not!

Torture IS against the Law!

Of course torture is agains... (Below threshold)
Sue:

Of course torture is against the law. We all agree on that. It's just that to the left giving a terrorist a hang nail would be construed as "torture". Waterboarding, while harsh IS NOT torture.

But the left is more interested in scoring brownie points and redefining the word "torture" to be honest.

If they really cared about torture they would be vocal about the human rights violations from Islamic nations and those with dictatorships, and they could care less about those.

You're an interest... (Below threshold)
Sue:
You're an interesting commentator, but your post #32 is without context. "Rightly dividing"the Word is key to understanding. The life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ introduced the concept of grace which gives back the status of Friendship with God that Adam and Eve enjoyed in Eden before sneaking behind God's back and Eve allowing herself (with Adam's approval) to be inseminated by Lucifer, thus allowing the entree of the "bad seed" (Cain) in the human gene pool (referred to by Christ as "Scribes and Pharisees" and the "children of Satan" who deserve to go to "their father", "the serpent" "from whence they came").

It's why God "hated" Cain while Cain was still "in the womb". Cain's offspring, the "seed of the serpent", were born to TORTURE Christ to death. Radical! And much more interesting than obsolete Hebrew legalism.

Where in the world do you get this junk? It's not even remotely true.

Genesis 4: 1-3 states: 1 Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, "With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man." 2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.

Those of you who are Christian-please DO NOT listen to anything BrianD says about the bible. He's either making things up or taking the "Gnostic gospels" as truth when they are totally opposed to the truth.

Remember, no matter what someone says, or who says it ALWAYS go back to the bible and test what is said against God's word.

And by the way, Brian, it's not about what is "interesting" it is about what is the TRUTH.

Sue, I can ignore most of w... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

Sue, I can ignore most of what bryan says because he types while thinking out loud. The Pharisees were in fact children of the "old serpent", and Christ was murdered because he called them out as corrupt, posturing money-changers. Asking bryan where he got some of his stranger variations, however, is just opening a whole new can of worms. Peace, and you have a good evening.

Of course torture is aga... (Below threshold)
Justice58:

Of course torture is against the law. We all agree on that. It's just that to the left giving a terrorist a hang nail would be construed as "torture". Waterboarding, while harsh IS NOT torture.


The Law Is The Law. I hope to see the guilty in handcuffs and perp walked!

Justice58: "The Law Is T... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Justice58: "The Law Is The Law. I hope to see the guilty in handcuffs and perp walked!"

So do I. But witch-hunts and political vendettas are something very much different; in that case it is the evil ones who are planning handcuffs and perp walks.

DJ,I care nothing ... (Below threshold)
Justice58:

DJ,

I care nothing for witch-hunts. This isn't about politics. This is about American standards and upholding the law. You have to dismiss the Democrats vs Republican attitude.

Either we're a Nation of Laws or we're Not.

You're lying, Justice58. D... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

You're lying, Justice58. Democrats who knew about and had no problem with enhanced interrogation in 2002 are now going after "Bush officials", purely and simply because they can.

That is witch-hunting and political vendetta beyond any honest denial.

As to laws, you might want to check - nothing known to be done by Americans (excepting Abu Ghraib) violated any law in place at the time. And only a complete perversion of definitions could even describe the Abu Ghraib offenses as 'torture'.

We can and should discuss the use of torture - its definition, limits, consequences and strategic implimcations. But there is a witch-hunt going on right now, a politically-motivated series of attacks and persecutions motivated solely by leftist partisanship. You simply can't pretend otherwise and present yourself as honest.

As to laws, you might wa... (Below threshold)
Justice58:

As to laws, you might want to check - nothing known to be done by Americans (excepting Abu Ghraib) violated any law in place at the time.


Not until Dick Cheney and George Bush came to power. They have ruined America's image to the world. We were once a city on a hill & beacon to the world. Now President Obama has to work very hard to pull us out of this muck we're in. The past Administration ran the country into the ground. Why they weren't impeached is beyond me? Dick Cheney deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest of the law.

America executed torturers for waterboarding American prisoners of war. How can we as a country ignore it when our own citizens are guilty of the same crimes. Are we now hypocrites? We should never have disregard for the law. It is the standard we live by in America. If America ignores crimes that were committed, then we have no respect for the law and we have truely become a Nation of cowards.

Justice, here's the logic t... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Justice, here's the logic to it: torture is illegal and un-American; Americans waterboard prisoners; therefore, waterboarding is not torture.

DJ, I would like you to find one example of a liberal commentator/pundit/blogger/whoever demanding that Republicans be held accountable for torture but not Democrats. If Pelosi knew about it and approved of the practice, then she should be punished as well.

DJ, why bother even discuss... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

DJ, why bother even discussing this with Justice and Hyper the biggest bullshitters ever.

Nothing political? Grow up. Everything in Washlington is political. The rule of law? Where was Justices stand on that when Clinton lied before the grand jury? You car nothing for the law. You waste of space. ww

WW,If what happene... (Below threshold)
Justice58:

WW,

If what happened at Abu Ghraib was on Barack Hussein Obama's watch, there would be hell to pay from Republicans and you know it.


They would impeach PBO and try him for war crimes because he could blink.


Hell, Republicans had Clinton impeached because he wanted to hide his sexual affair from Hillary. Torture is beyond the pale.


The guilty must pay! Dick Cheney is going down!

A prison cell has his name on it.

I apologize....The... (Below threshold)
Justice58:

I apologize....

The statement should read...They would impeach PBO and try him for war crimes "before" he could blink.

justice,... (Below threshold)
maggie:

justice,

Hell, Republicans had Clinton impeached because he wanted to hide his
sexual affair from Hillary.

Clinton was impeached for lying, perjury, not
for having sex and hiding it from Hillary.

Clinton was impeached fo... (Below threshold)
Justice58:

Clinton was impeached for lying, perjury, not
for having sex and hiding it from Hillary.


Yes Maggie, impeached for lying because he wanted to hide his affair from Hillary.


Republicans didn't miss a beat in going after Clinton for "lying".

Now, we're talking about torture, which is against American & International law.


Torturing is a crime, Maggie. The guilty should be punished to the fullest of the law.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7u-Wk1aU-E


Thank you for this much, Ju... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Thank you for this much, Justice - you have conclusively proven my claim of leftist witch hunts.

I'd almost guess if someone cuts you off in traffic, you blame Cheney or Bush.

If the girl you like won't date you, Cheney made her do it.

If you can't get a promotion, you gotta blame Bush.

What they did was legal, mister. Grow up and deal with it. Delusional fantasies of prosecuting legitimate actions just because you think you can wish the law into something else, is just sad.

Yet all too predictable.

What they did was legal,... (Below threshold)
Justice58:

What they did was legal, mister.


Who is delusional? Waterboarding is torture. Torture is against the law. Grow up and deal with it.


I wanna see Dick Cheney in handcuffs and perp walked!

Justice58, your opinion doe... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Justice58, your opinion does not count as law. To make that claim, you'll have to cite specific statutes in full to show you are not just doing the BDS version of a Perez Hilton.

Since I have checked the relevant statutes, I confirm that the "law is the law", while your sick fantasy is ... not.




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